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Facility Update: Part II - Meet the Architects

10/17/2018 03:59:12 PM


Seth Leventhal

On Thursday Oct 11 our architects visited for a “mini-charrette”- a group workshop. Based on their review of the responses to the survey that I talked about in our previous blog entry, they prepared design ideas for discussion. At the session, we looked at some excellent preliminary ideas that they presented. They sought our reaction to various directions the project could take, and also solicited further ideas and input from the attendees.

Based on the results of the survey, the plans were focused on the areas of highest priority to the congregation: The sanctuary, social hall, entry and foyer. They presented some ideas for improving our exterior entry through such things as use of a canopy (which will require further study to see what can actually be accomplished within HOA restrictions). Inside the entry, their idea to transform the entrance area from a lengthy, forbidding corridor bordered by several underutilized rooms, into a welcoming lobby was very enthusiastically received! Here is a conceptual picture

Our survey respondents felt that the doors to our sanctuary are not welcoming. The architects showed us some possible replacement door ideas which are more welcoming, using a realistic wood finish (while still being fire rated). These doors can also address the lack of natural light in our sanctuary by bringing in ‘borrowed’ light from the windows in the foyer. One possible approach is shown below.

We had some lively back and forth and congregational input concerning the sanctuary and social hall. As we noted in the previous blog entry, our congregants want to see a warmer, less industrial space, with better definition between different spaces, while still retaining the flexibility that makes these spaces functional for all of our uses. We can make some big changes here without a lot of expense. Some ideas that are under consideration include:

• Acoustic wall treatments and decorative touches such as wood wainscotting

• Use of easily cleanable carpet-like flooring tiles (Lisa has some samples in her office if you’d like to check them out)

• Updated and more decorative lighting 

• Built-in movable sound baffling room divider between sanctuary and social hall

• More comfortable and stylish, but still movable seating (see one possibility pictured here)

One interesting idea that Brawer & Hauptman have used in other temples where they wanted to have the flexibility to remove the bemah to use the space for other uses is the ‘Murphy bemah’, an innovation that they invented. The Murphy bemah, like a Murphy bed, folds up into the wall when it is not in use. It is spring mounted and can be easily retracted and opened up by hand. Here is a sample from a temple where they used the Murphy bemah.

More to come as they continue to work with our input. Do you have other ideas? Email me at

Wed, March 29 2023 7 Nisan 5783